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Timothy Olmsted, St. Paul Teacher Accused Of Discriminating Against Black Students, Sees Case Move To Federal Court
Sep-13-2012 639 0


Heights Community School parents have filed a lawsuit that is now moving to federal courts against the St. Paul Public School District in Minnesota, amid an investigation into allegations that teacher Timothy Olmsted discriminated against black students.

Olmsted resigned after the district placed him on paid leave in the spring after parents complained that he called black students "fat, black and stupid" and told them, "you will never amount to anything" and "you only have one parent.

The teacher also allegedly forced black students to sit in the back of the classroom, or sit with their desks facing the wall.

"He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people," Tolbert told reporters.

Olmsted resigned in March, but is still being paid through the first week of October, and parents are dissatisfied. He is also not facing disciplinary action due to the resignation.

In the suit, parents claim that the district failed to protect their children from Olmsted, the Star Tribune reports. Latasha Tolbert, mother of 12-year-old Jamia Ware, said she made nearly 100 calls to school officials in the fall regarding Olmsted's classroom behavior, but the no one acted until January.

District representatives, however, tell the Star Tribune that an investigation was launched promptly and all complaints against the teacher were addressed immediately. Olmsted's attorney notes that the teacher "denies any improper conduct and believes that the claims against him are baseless."

But the educator has a record of controversy. The St. Paul School District reported in 2002 that Olmsted gave a sixth grade girl a birthday card with sexual innuendos, and requested that she read it to the class. He was also accused of giving a graphic description of castrating horses and throwing testicles into a field to feed cats.

For the various incidents over the years, disciplinary actions against him have ranged from written reprimands to days of suspension without pay. Students also find his more recent, racial comments strange.

"He would say random things like when I get out of the shower my dog dries me off," student Aylecia Ingram-Jones told reporters in a separate report.

Her father, Miguel Jones, has moved the teen to another school district, and asserts that there should be no question about whether Olmsted should be allowed to keep teaching.

"I wouldn't stand for it," Jones said. "Right is right. Wrong is wrong."

Minnesota does not have statewide regulations regarding disciplinary action for teachers, so process is followed based on district decisions and as outlined in teachers' union contracts.

The allegations in St. Paul are similar to complaints against Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., who was placed on paid leave in June while officials investigate claims that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents have accused Pyles of inappropriately calling a student "black boy" when she couldn't remember his name. When she first called the boy by the wrong name, he pointed out her mistake. So she responded, "How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy."

Parents are calling for her dismissal.

In another incident in March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a "blacker" manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan -- c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'" Shumate told The Washington Post.

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Dan Graf May-31-2016 82 0
Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith’s blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit when he was shot and killed April 9 after a car collision with his attacker.

One of two sources cited by the New Orleans Times-Picayune said yet-to-be-released toxicology results put Smith’s level at 0.24 percent. Louisiana’s legal limit is 0.08.

Peter Thompson, an attorney for the Smith family, had previously told reporters that Smith – who was driving before he got in an altercation with Cardell Hayes – was not inebriated on the night of the crash, which took place in New Orleans.

Hayes was arrested on a second-degree murder charge after a fight that ended with Smith being shot seven times in the back and once in the chest, according to the coroner’s report. Police have said that Smith, 34, had a gun in his vehicle the night he and Hayes confronted each other after a car accident but that the gun was never fired. Hayes’ attorneys have not denied that Hayes fired the shots that killed Smith but are claiming he did so in self-defense.

The Times-Picayune reported that it’s unclear whether the toxicology report will be presented during a scheduled Wednesday court hearing for Hayes, who is also accused of second-degree attempted murder for shooting Smith’s wife, Racquel.
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Matt Schudel May-29-2016 118 0
Cassandra Q. Butts, who was President Obama’s classmate at Harvard Law School and a longtime member of the president’s inner circle who advised him throughout his political career and served as a deputy White House counsel, died May 25 at her home in Washington. She was 50.

She sought medical attention early last week, when she began feeling ill. She died before learning that she had been diagnosed with acute leukemia, her family said.

Ms. Butts met the future president in 1988, when they were filling out financial-aid forms during their first days at Harvard Law School. They had a shared interest in jazz and remained close friends throughout law school and in later years.

Along with Valerie Jarrett, Susan E. Rice and others, Ms. Butts was sometimes described as one of the “Sisterhood” of female advisers especially close to the president and first lady Michelle Obama.

In a statement, the Obamas said Ms. Butts was “always pushing, always doing her part to advance the causes of opportunity, civil rights, development, and democracy. Cassandra was someone who put her hands squarely on that arc of the moral universe, and never stopped doing whatever she could to bend it towards justice.”

During their three years together at Harvard Law School, Ms. Butts and Obama often spent time “just sitting around and talking about how we were going to change the world,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 2007. “How do you take this thing we’re learning in law school and make a difference on the issues that we care about?”

She was among the classmates who encouraged Obama to run for president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990. He became the first African American to hold the position.

“In order to publish the Law Review and to be productive in his term as president,” Ms. Butts told PBS’s “Frontline” program in 2008, “he had to figure out how to make it work and how to make both sides work together, which meant that he wasn’t always going to side with his progressive colleagues. It is Barack’s natural inclination to reach across the aisle.”

After graduating from law school in 1991, Ms. Butts was legislative counsel to Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), then worked on civil rights policy with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

She returned to Capitol Hill in 1996 as a top adviser to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), who was House minority leader at the time. She helped vet judicial nominees and served as counsel for the House Democratic Policy Committee during the 1998 impeachment hearings on President Bill Clinton.

In 2004, when Obama was elected to the Senate, Ms. Butts helped hire his staff and organize his office. During his presidential run four years later, she was among several former classmates who helped with his campaign. After he was elected, she was general counsel to the Obama transition team and later served as deputy White House counsel.

“Initially, he didn’t have a national network of people who he could call on,” Ms. Butts told Politico in 2008. “The Harvard group was helpful on that front — helping him make introductions on policy, political and financial fronts.”

Ms. Butts was reportedly a key behind-the-scenes figure during the nomination process of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009.

In November 2009, Ms. Butts became a senior adviser at the Millennium Challenge Corp., an independent government agency that develops recommendations on U.S. foreign aid to developing countries.

She was nominated by Obama in February 2014 to be U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas. Beyond a committee hearing, the Senate failed to act to confirm her to the post.

Cassandra Quin Butts was born Aug. 10, 1965, in Brooklyn. She was 9 when her family moved to Durham, N.C. Her father was a businessman, her mother an accountant.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987, then worked as a researcher for African News Service in Durham before going to law school.

In 2000, Ms. Butts was an observer in the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections. She was a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, from 2004 to 2008.

For the past two years, while awaiting confirmation as ambassador to the Bahamas, she served as an adviser to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Survivors include her mother, Mae A. Karim of Durham; her father, Charles Norman Butts of New York City; and a sister, Deidra Abbott of Severna Park, Md.

“I’ve always been confident in Barack’s ability,” Ms. Butts said in 2008, describing Obama’s preparation for the presidency. “And even after law school, I remember telling a couple of people that, you know, I know this guy who is incredibly talented and could be the first African American president of the United States.”
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Matt Ferner May-29-2016 267 0
A Las Vegas judge this week ordered a deputy public defender to be placed in handcuffs and seated next to inmates in court, saying he wanted to teach her "a lesson" about courtroom etiquette. But legal experts say it's the judge who may actually need a lesson in decorum.

On Monday, an irritated Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen told Clark County Deputy Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary to "be quiet" as she tried to defend her client and keep him from serving a six-month jail sentence for violating probation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported. As Bakhtary continued speak out in defense of her client, Hafen exploded and ordered a marshal to place Bakhtary in handcuffs and seat her in the jury box next to inmates.

Hafen told the Review-Journal that it's not "proper decorum" to talk over or interrupt in court. But Bakhtary told The Huffington Post that it was Hafen who first interrupted her while she was in the middle of defending her client. Here's the court transcript from the incident:

MS. BAKHTARY: But there has to be some leniency in this department.

THE COURT: No, there doesn't just.

MS. BAKHTARY: There has to be some indicative circumstance --

THE COURT: No. No, there doesn't. Let me show you the leniency. Just so everybody in the courtroom understands the leniency that was provided to the defendant. Okay? I'm going to take a few minutes and we're going to explain everything because I'm going to debunk this theory of yours. Okay, Zohra? Just so everybody knows, this defendant was charged with a felony and a gross misdemeanor. Okay?

MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, I would ask the Court not to --

THE COURT: Zohra, be quiet.

MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're asking --

THE COURT: Zohra --

MS. BAKHTARY: You're making --

THE COURT: Do you want to be found in contempt?

MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're asking --

THE COURT: Zohra, be quiet. Now. Not another word.

MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're --

THE COURT: Travis, right now. I'm tired of it. Right now. (Whereupon, Ms. Bakhtary was taken into custody.)

Hafen claimed to the Review-Journal that Bakhtary had exhibited "a progression" of unprofessional behavior in the courtroom for some time, and that he'd been "trying to work with her" but believed she didn't "understand" him. So he ordered her to be restrained.

"We went on with the rest of the calendar, and everything was fine," Hafen said.

Hafen ended up sentencing Bakhtary's client to six months in jail.

Bakhtary says she's appeared in Hafen's courtroom at the Regional Justice Center about once a week for about three years since joining the public defender's office, and that she's never acted unprofessionally. She told HuffPost that Hafen's decision to handcuff her and speak out against her professionalism was "extremely offensive."

“Every day I zealously represent my clients," Bakhtary said. "Every individual who goes through our criminal justice system has a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. It is a frightening day when a lawyer is locked up for fighting on behalf of her clients and their rights. The Court's constitutional duty is to listen to arguments, not silence them.”

Hafen did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.

It's well within a judge's power to restrain a person who is acting out of order in the courtroom, but rarely do they use this power against an attorney advocating on behalf of a client. And while Hafen didn't make any specific references to Bakhtary's gender in the court transcript, it's possible to see the incident as fitting into a larger pattern of men silencing women in this kind of setting.

Stephen Cooper, a former federal and D.C. public defender, wrote an article on Bakhtary's handcuffing that highlights two other instances in recent years in which female public defenders were treated with similar disrespect. He cites a particularly disturbing case from 2007, reported by The Washington Post, where a judge ordered an attorney -- a woman of color, like Bakhtary -- to be "searched, shackled and detained" by a D.C. Superior Court judge, simply for attempting to inform the judge that her client was "homeless and poor." That judge was later found to be grossly out of line and was reprimanded for his behavior.

Phil Kohn, Clark County's chief public defender, strongly defended Bakhtary's conduct in court and told HuffPost that he's never had one of his attorneys restrained in the 10-plus years he's been working there. Kohn also criticized Hafen's demeanor in the courtroom and called out the inappropriateness of Hafen referring to Bakhtary by her first name.

"I believe in decorum. All parties should respect each other," Kohn said. "It should be 'Mr.' or 'Ms.' or 'Your Honor.' The fact that he's talking to her as 'Zohra' -- this is kindergarten stuff."

Bakhtary's colleagues at the Clark County Defenders Union also denounced Hafen's actions in a letter to news media.

"Handcuffing an attorney who is merely doing her job to teach her a lesson is simply improper and has never been done in the history of Nevada," the group wrote. "His actions were unreasonable and unprecedented. Judge Hafen was wrong."
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Seth Walder May-28-2016 239 0
A rising NBA rookie was shot to death after breaking into a Dallas apartment he believed belonged to a friend, according to reports.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones died from a gunshot wound to his abdomen early Saturday after he “kicked open the front door” to a Dallas apartment and the man sleeping inside woke up and shot him, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Dejean-Jones, 23, ran out of the apartment and “collapsed in the breezeway,” according to a police report obtained by the paper.

Management at the Camden Belmont Apartments sent out an email to residents Saturday saying that “an individual who believed to be breaking into the apartment of an estranged acquaintance inadvertently broke into the wrong apartment.”

The resident of the apartment woke up, retrieved a handgun and called out to the individual, but did not receive an answer, cops said.

Dejean-Jones kicked the bedroom door and the resident shot him around 3:20 a.m., according to the police report.

The young guard’s death was first reported by The Ames Tribune.

“Bryce overcame a lot of obstacles to get to this point in his career,” his agent, Scott Nichols, told ESPN. “He was a joy to be around, a talent just turning the corner in his career.”

A reporter for the New Orleans Advocate wrote on Twitter that Dejean-Jones was in Dallas to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday.

Dejean-Jones, originally from Los Angeles, started 11 of 14 games with the Pelicans this season before undergoing surgery for a broken right wrist and missing the rest of the season.

The team released a statement Saturday acknowledging Dejean-Jones “sudden passing” with “deep sadness.”

“We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him,” it said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.”

Following his college career at the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Iowa State, he went unselected in the 2015 NBA Draft. He was first signed by the Pelicans in August 2015 but was waived in October.

The Pelicans re-signed him on January 21, 2016, and played in his first NBA game that day.

Shocked NBA stars took to Twitter to share their grief over the stunning death.

“I’ll never forget you Bryce. My heart is super heavy right now man. Thanks for being a true brother. #RipBryce,” Brookyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick Jr. wrote.

“Saddened to hear about Bryce Dejean Jones. Condolences to his family. May he Rest in Peace,” tweeted former Iowa State University teammate Melviin Ejim.
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Tobias Salinger May-26-2016 167 0
An Alabama man died in jail from an untreated ulcer after going a week without food, medical care or even a court appearance, according to a lawsuit.

The son of Phillip David Anderson, 49, filed a federal civil rights suit Monday against Tuscaloosa County over Anderson’s February 2015 death. The father of four and U.S. Army veteran went into custody at Tuscaloosa County Jail because of a missed 2013 child support hearing and never came back, David Schoen, the attorney representing his family, told the Daily News.

Anderson’s family burst into tears when Schoen read them the text of the lawsuit at his mother’s senior center last week, Schoen said.

“It was a classic case of powerless people in Alabama. They don’t know where to turn,” Schoen said. “They said the one thing they want to make sure of is that this never happens again.”

Anderson’s youngest child was 23 at the time of his arrest and he has never missed any child support payments, Schoen said. He vomited after the first meal he ate at the jail Feb. 8 and couldn’t eat anything else for the next seven days while ailing from a “readily apparent, extraordinarily distended abdomen,” according to the lawsuit against the county, Sheriff Ron Abernathy and jail officials.

Anderson’s first and only treatment happened in the hospital where he was pronounced dead seven days later from an untreated perforated duodenal ulcer, the court documents said.

Anderson was a father of four and U.S. Army veteran. He was 49 years old and working in painting and construction at the time of his death. (Couresty Anderson Family)

“For a full week in February, 2015, while Mr. Anderson was held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail for missing a child support hearing he did not even know he had missed, these defendants deliberately, malevolently, intentionally, and with reckless disregard for his obvious and serious medical infirmities, stood idly by and watched Mr. Anderson die, slowly, day by day, screaming over and over again as he lay writhing in excruciating pain,” according to the lawsuit.

Representatives for the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Robert Spence, an attorney representing the county, wrote in an email, “As the complaint indicates, Mr. Anderson had multiple health problems.” He declined further comment on the pending litigation.

The lawsuit alleges Anderson gave jail officials a list of his daily required medications yet never received any of them. Jail staff instead informed him inmates had to pay $25 to see a doctor and accused him of faking his health problems, according to the court documents.

Anderson lost consciousness Feb. 15, and his eyes appeared to go back in his head, the lawsuit said. A jail nurse ordered other inmates to lie Anderson face down on a bathroom floor where there was a visible pool of urine while the nurse called for help, according to the documents.

The family's lawyer said Anderson's relatives broke into tears as he read them the lawsuit.
Anderson's mother, Willie Mahan Anderson, poses in a T-shirt with her son's Army photo on it. The family's lawyer said Anderson's relatives broke into tears as he read them the lawsuit. (Courtesy)

Anderson’s family rushed to the jail. Staff had assured them he was fine all week after they checked in on reports about his condition from other inmates, the lawsuit said. They watched him as he was rolled out of the facility on a stretcher.

“They see him taken out, unconscious, still handcuffed, no shirt on, no shoes on, and it’s the middle of February,” Schoen said. “How do you have a prisoner in your jail who hasn’t eaten for seven days and you’re not aware of it? Every inmate was aware of it.”

The son of Anderson’s pressing the lawsuit, Phillip Fikes, told NBC News his father had been doing painting and construction work at the time of his death. Anderson was “a real joyful person to be around” and his family celebrated what would have been his 50th birthday this past August even as they wondered why the jail staff had not attended to him, Fikes said.

“I just feel like they didn't care,” said Fikes, 31. “I hope and pray no one else has to go through what we went through."
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Laura Bult May-25-2016 185 0
Three high school football players are facing charges that they sexually assaulted a mentally disabled teammate with a coat hanger following months of harassment in a racially charged trial that’s rocking a tiny Idaho town.

Last fall, three star football players lured the special needs student with an offer of a hug inside the Dietrich High School locker room, but instead proceeded to thrust a coat hanger into the boy’s rectum while one of the assailants kicked the object several times, according to the criminal complaint.

John R.K. Howard, 18, a transfer student from Texas, and Tanner Ward, 17, are being tried as adults due to the seriousness of the crime and could face up to life in prison, according to MagicValley.com. A third, 16-year-old defendant, who is not named, is being charged as a juvenile.

A witness testified that Ward initiated the heartless attack and that Howard was the one who kicked the coat hanger five or six times while it was jammed inside the boy’s rectum, causing painful injuries that required hospital treatment.

“I screamed,” the 18-year-old boy, who is not being named because he’s a victim of sexual assault, testified for the first time last month. “I was pretty upset. I felt really bad. A little betrayed and confused at the same time. It was terrible — a pain I’ve never felt,” he said, adding that he remembered his attackers laughing throughout the assault, MagicValley.com reported.


? 17-year-old Tanner Ward, a student at Dietrich High School in Idaho, is one of three students accused of sexually assaulting a boy with a coat hanger and has been charged with forcible penetration.
17-year-old Tanner Ward, a student at Dietrich High School in Idaho, is one of three students accused of sexually assaulting a boy with a coat hanger and has been charged with forcible penetration. (KMVT)

The victim — a black learning-disabled teenager who was adopted by white parents in the small predominantly white town with a population of 338 — was the target of racist taunting and abuse in the months leading up to the savage attack, according to a $10 million lawsuit his family filed against Dietrich High School earlier this month.

Howard, who is portrayed in court documents as the ringleader in the merciless harassment, is accused of forcing the black boy to sing a Ku Klux Klan song called “Notorious KKK” (set to the tune of Notorious B.I.G. “Can’t You See”) he learned in Texas and encouraged other football players to join in on the vicious bullying.

The boy “was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team which names include ‘Kool-Aid’ ‘chicken eater’ ‘watermelon’ and n---r,” the suit alleges.

Other abuse described in the shocking suit includes when football players stripped the boy naked on a bus ride home from an out-of-town football game and took photos of him with their cellphones.

Dietrich High School in Idaho is the target of a $10 million lawsuit by the victim's family, which says coaches and school staff did nothing to stop months of harrassment that led to the attack.
Dietrich High School in Idaho is the target of a $10 million lawsuit by the victim's family, which says coaches and school staff did nothing to stop months of harrassment that led to the attack. (Google)

The lawsuit also names 11 employees as defendants allegedly did nothing to protect the boy, who was vulnerable due to “mental disorders including learning disabilities,” from the racist attacks, and even promoted the violence.

The suit claims that the Dietrich football coaches encouraged other players to fight the boy, including one incident in which a much larger player knocked the boy, who was forced to wear boxing gloves, unconscious as the students shouted “catcalls, taunts and racial epithets,” according to the suit.

The bullying culminated in the vicious Oct. 23, 2015 coat hanger attack. The following day, the boy and his parents reported the sexual assault to police.

Howard has a preliminary hearing set for June 10 and has not entered a plea. Ward's trial is scheduled to begin on September 26.
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May-24-2016 146 0
A Mississippi man whose daughter died after he left her in a hot car was released from jail without bail Tuesday, with the possibility that the second-degree murder charge against him could be reduced.

Grenada Municipal Judge Rusty Harlow ordered the release of 25-year-old Joshua Blunt on his own recognizance after city prosecutor Jennifer Adams requested the move and a friend and a police detective testified he wasn't a flight risk.

Harlow wept as he emerged from the Grenada County jail a few minutes later, embraced by relatives and friends who had offered vocal support during the brief court hearing.

Adams told Harlow that Grenada officials want to reduce the charges against Blunt from second degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison, to culpable negligence, a felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

However, Harlow said he wanted to hear from Grenada County District Attorney Doug Evans, who prosecutes felonies in the county, before making that decision.

Blunt's lawyer, Carlos Moore, has said he will fight that lower-grade felony charge.

Janette Fennell, founder and president of the Kansas-based KidsAndCars.Org, said that between 1990 and 2015, charges were brought in 45.5 percent of cases involving the deaths of children in hot cars in the U.S.

The group's figures show there were 706 cases of children dying in hot cars for those 25 years, although some cases involved multiple deaths.

The district attorney was present for the hearing but didn't participate. Evans later told The Associated Press that the correct procedure would be for city officials to drop the original murder charge and enter a new culpable negligence charge. Then he said the district attorney could decide whether to present it to the grand jury.

Evans said he's seen some information from the investigation, but couldn't comment on whether he believed Blunt knew the child was in the car.

Shania Caradine, Blunt's daughter, died Thursday after she was left in her father's car outside the 333 Restaurant in Grenada. Blunt's lawyer says she was there for about four hours. The lawyer said Blunt and a co-worker found the infant in the car, took Shania inside the restaurant and put cool towels on her to await an ambulance that took her to the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada. Grenada County Deputy Coroner Jo Morman said physicians at the hospital tried unsuccessfully for hours to revive the baby.

She was the second Mississippi child to die from heatstroke in a vehicle within two weeks. No charges have been brought against a parent in the other case.

Supporters and family members erupted in claps and cheers in the courtroom after Harlow ordered Blunt's release, with one person shouting, "Oh yes!"

John Archer who said he's Blunt's brother-in-law, said he and his wife, Patricia Archer, helped raise him.

"We think it was fair because he's working two jobs and he's never been in trouble. "He's just trying to support his family. It's just an accident."

Archer said Blunt was called in to work Thursday on a day he had been scheduled to be off. Archer speculated that the change in routine distracted Blunt from dropping off his daughter at the home of Shanice Caradine's mother.

Shanice Caradine is the child's mother and Blunt's girlfriend.

Among supporters present Tuesday was Allyson Worsham, who owns the 333 Restaurant. She called Blunt a good worker who had been "so proud" when his daughter was born.

"This has been a horrible tragedy," said Worsham said. She thanked a jail guard for watching Blunt, saying he had voiced thoughts of suicide after his daughter's death.

"Shanice sent a message to me that she loves him and that she and Shania forgive him," Worsham said.
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CBS News May-24-2016 149 0
A Florida city official died in a suspicious single-vehicle crash a day before he was scheduled to surrender in a criminal corruption case.

Authorities say 43-year-old Opa-locka city commissioner Terence Pinder died Tuesday after the city-owned vehicle he was driving crashed into a tree. The tree was located in an undeveloped part of Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport, far from any major road. Police say they are investigating whether the crash was deliberate.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office confirmed Pinder had planned to surrender Wednesday to face bribery and other corruption charges. An arrest warrant says Pinder accepted thousands of dollars to help a businessman establish a recycling transfer station.

The death is the latest blow to Opa-locka, which is under a broader FBI corruption investigation and struggling with its finances.
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AP May-23-2016 106 0
Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.

Prosecutors had declined to charge Cosby over Andrea Constand's complaint in 2005, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public.

In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Constand at his home. The two knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team.

The following exchanges between Cosby and Constand lawyer Dolores Troiani took place in 2005 and 2006. They are excerpted for brevity and to delete legal squabbling and repetition.

___

ON CONSTAND:

Q. When did you first develop a romantic interest in Andrea?

A. Probably the first time I saw her (at Temple's arena).

___

On the night in question:

Q: Can you tell me ... what you recall of the night in which you gave the pills to Andrea?

A: Andrea came to the house. I called her. ... We talked about Temple University. We talked about her position. And then I went upstairs and I got three pills. I brought them down. They are the equivalent of one and a half. The reason why I gave them and offered them to Andrea, which she took after examining them, was because she was talking about stress.

___

Cosby describes a several-minute sexual encounter that followed.

Q: So, you're not telling us that you verbally asked her for permission?

A: I didn't say it verbally, I said. The action is my hand on her midriff, which is skin. I'm not lifting any clothing up. This is, I don't remember fully what it is, but it's there and I can feel. I got her skin and it's just above the hand and it's just above where you can go under the pants.

Q: Then what happens?

A: I don't hear her say anything. And I don't feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.

___

Troiani asks Cosby about a phone call a year later between Cosby and Constand's mother, Gianni Constand, who told him something was wrong with her daughter, who was also on the line.

Q: What was the thing that you did not want to talk about?

A: I didn't want to talk about, "What did you give her?"

Q: Why?

A: Because we're over the telephone and I'm not sending anything (the pill bottle) over the mail and I'm not giving away anything.

Q: Why didn't you simply tell her ... that you had given her daughter an over-the-counter drug called Benadryl?

A: I'm not going to argue with somebody's mother who is accusing me of something. And then when I apologize she says to me, "That's all I wanted to know, Bill." ... And I'm apologizing because I'm thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration.

___

Q: When she sat here and cried (Constand, during her deposition), how did you feel?

A: I think Andrea is a liar and I know she's a liar because I was there.

___

ON QUAALUDES:

Cosby testified that he had gotten quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He said he was given seven prescriptions for the now-banned sedative, ostensibly for a sore back.

Q: Why didn't you ever take the quaaludes?

A: Because I used them.

Q: For what?

A: The same as a person would say, "Have a drink."

Q: You gave them to other people?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you believe at that time that it was illegal for you to dispense those drugs?

A: Yes.

Q: How did (the doctor) know that you didn't plan to use (them)?

A: What was happening at that time was that, that was, quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.

Q: When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?

A. Yes.

___

Cosby acknowledges having a sexual relationship with accuser Therese (Picking) Serignese starting around 1976, when she was 19. Serignese, who has gone public with her accusations, has said the first time she met Cosby at a Las Vegas hotel in 1976, he gave her quaaludes and a glass of water before they had sex.

Q: Did you give her quaaludes?

A: Yes.

Q: What effect did the quaaludes have on her?

A: She became in those days what was called high.

Q: She said that she believes she was not in the position to consent to intercourse after you gave her the drug. Do you believe that is correct?

A: I don't know. ... How many years ago are we talking about? 197(6)? ... I meet Ms. Picking in Las Vegas. She meets me backstage. I give her quaaludes. We then have sex.

___

Q: Why didn't you ever take them yourself?

A: I get sleepy.

Q: How would you know that if you never took them?

A: Quaaludes happen to be a depressant. I have had surgery and while being given pills that block the nervous system, in particular the areas of muscle, the back, I found that I get sleepy and I want to stay awake.

Q: Is that why you don't drink alcohol?

A: Exactly.
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